HAMPSTEAD, Md. (WJZ) — A Hampstead woman pleaded guilty to 11 counts of aggravated animal cruelty Monday after 27 dead dogs were found inside her home.
Carroll County animal control officers were called to Laura Filler’s home in the 4300 block of Black Road Road back in April for a welfare check. When they arrived, they were overwhelmed by the smell of decomposition and could hear dogs barking and see them jumping up against filthy windows.
Officers tried to contact the homeowner, but they were unsuccessful. The door was padlocked from the outside.
“Upon opening the door to the home, officers were overwhelmed with the odors of ammonia, decomposition and fecal matter, and were immediately met by numerous dogs,” the report stated.
Officers found 27 live dogs and 11 dead dogs, two of which were locked in a cage, inside the home. There was no water or food available for the dogs found on the first floor of the home. The home’s floors were covered in a two to three inches of sludge-like matter — with no dry place for the dogs to lay.
The home’s damage was estimated at $94,000.
On April 8, officers returned to the home with a search warrant and found additional dead dogs in the home’s bathtub, and 15 dead dogs found in totes in the shed. A total of 27 dead dogs and 27 live dogs were found inside the home.
Laura Filler and John Roberts were renting the home since 2008 and were operating an unlicensed breeding operation called Black Rock Dalmatians and Black Rock Puppies on social media.
Filler is being held without bond at the Carroll County Detention Center until her sentencing, which is scheduled for Jan. 17, 2020.
Roberts is expected to be in court on Oct. 16, 2019.